How many pages should my CV be?

This questions comes up time and time again. You might have heard or read somewhere that your CV should be two pages long. We are also regularly asked by clients to write a two page CV.

During the course of my career, I have read many thousands of CVs from individuals at various stages of their career and from various industry sectors and professions. Through experience, I have come to understand what employers look for in a CV and which individuals achieve greater success in being shortlisted for interview. At this stage of the process, all the employer has to base their decision on, is your CV!

Having a winning CV is vital in today's competitive job market, so it's important to get it right. I therefore feel it pertinent to share my views on this subject.

If a prospective employer asks for a two page CV, you should of course adjust your CV to meet their requirements. This doesn't mean making the font really small or squashing your existing content onto two pages, but rather condensing your CV to focus only on the most relevant experience.

However, the truth is that some CVs ideally shouldn't be crammed into two pages. In some industries, CVs are expected to be lengthy, such as an academic or medical CV which should include research and publications, for example. Someone who has had significant experience and changed jobs frequently throughout their career will also have a longer CV than someone who has stayed with the same organisation for twenty years.

Irrespective of your industry background or length of experience, it is important that your CV contains information that is relevant to the role you're applying for and that your CV is easy to read, concise and flows logically.

Here are some tips to help you keep your CV concise:

  • The first page of your CV should really stand out and contain information which prompts the reader to read further.
  • As a general rule, you should provide more detail in your recent experience than in your earlier positions, unless previous experience is particularly relevant for the role you're applying for.
  • Generally, employers aren't interested in hobbies, interests and extra-mural activities, unless again they're relevant. For example, if you're applying for a role within the sports industry, your sports participation will show a genuine interest. If you're applying for a position as a Social Worker, your voluntary experience and any community involvement might be of interest to an employer.
  • Ensure that the most relevant sections of your CV get precedence. For example, depending on your profession and length of experience, your Education might not be as relevant as your experience. If this is the case, you can also reduce the detail under your Education section such as removing reference to specific modules or irrelevant courses.

I hope this article has been useful. Please contact us if you need help!

Author: Nike Wadds, Stand Tall Consulting

Copyright 2012 Stand Tall Consulting